April 19, 2008



By Fred A. Lawson

It was a quiet and lazy summer night in 1966 or 67. Gary Junco, Eurby Grubbs and Yours Truly Fred A. Lawson were walking west on West Washington Street. We were heading for the D&J Drive Inn., when Steve Croyle pulled up in his 1959 Ford Galaxy. The car was black with a red interior with about 42 coats of wax on it.  Steve called the car “The Batmobile” and had a license plate on the front that proclaimed it to the world.

“Hey, you guys need a ride?”  Steve shouted.  “Do we need a ride?”  Does a thirsty man need a drink?  Does a drowning man need a lifeguard?  “ YES!” we yelled in unison.

“Let The Games Begin!!!!!!”

The three of us pile in.  I called shotgun and got in the front seat.  Gary and Eurby went to the back seat.  Eurby was sitting in back of Steve, Gary behind me.

When young men get together they redneck one another.  Steve's car was as clean as a whistle; maybe two whistles.  Someone says,  “Hey, Steve, you want us to take our shoes off?” “No,” Steve says.  ”Just don't make a mess, I just cleaned it.”  “Hey, Steve, didn't think you could drive this car without your girlfriend in.”  “Real funny,” Steve laughs, “Real funny.”

“Deader Than 4 O'clock”

The four of us circle D & J's.  Not much going on.  Steve drives the route from D & J's to the Old Fleets Drive Inn and back again.  We all are chatting and laughing. Out to the Root Beer stand and back, not much stirring, not even a mouse. As we are circling D & J's for about the fifth time, I let out a sigh and say, “We sure could use some excitement, fellas.”  With that, from the backseat Gary replies, “You want some excitement Fred?”  “Wouldn't hurt,” I said.  “You sure, Fred?”  Gary answers.  “I am sure, Gary.”  "O.K. Fred, I'll see what I can do.”  Gary says with a chuckle.

“The Big Bang Theory”

When things happen, they happen fast, so this story must now shift to slow motion…..

1.  Gary reaches in pocket and gets Cherry Bomb and lighter.

2.  Eurby tells Gary “Don't  do it!”

3.  Gary laughs , lights Cherry Bomb and tosses out the window.

4.  Cherry Bomb hits glass and bounces to backseat floor boards - lit Cherry Bomb is now in Batmobile!

5.  Eurby yells at Gary. “GET IT GARY!!!!!!

6.  I turn to see what’s going on. Eurby yells. “DUCK, FRED!!!!!” And I do.

7.  Gary comes up from floor boards with Cherry Bomb in hand and attempts to toss it back out the window.

8.  Cherry Bomb lands on the edge of the right wing - the window was only rolled down about two inches - KABLEWY!!!!!!!!

 “Please Make the Ringing Stop!”

Steve stops the car, turns to the “back seat” and yells,  “WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON BACK THERE?”  Eurby points to Gary and says, “You need to talk to him Steve,  I did not do it.”  Gary explains to Steve as we exit the car to survey the “THE DAMAGE.”

 “Sorry Is As Sorry Does”

There was a dent on the edge of the right wing where the Cherry Bomb landed.  The dent was about the size of a thumb print and a quarter of an inch deep.  But to Steve it must have looked like the Grand Canyon.

There is a Code - You don't mess with a Mother's baby, you don’t spit into the wind and you don't mess with a man’s car.  The Batmobile was  Steve's baby, and he loved her!!!!

Gary surveys the damage and says, “Don't look too bad to me!”

“My God, the Inhumanity”

The argument that followed was long and lengthy with expletives flying back and forth like the bullets at Gettysburg.  No ground was given, no prisoners taken.

“Eurby And Fred Step To One Side”

I had heard enough.  I walked about thirty feet away from the argument and stood there.  I was soon joined by my good friend, Eurby.  Eurby and I began to stare at each other and I began to grin.  Eurby spoke first, “What ever you do, Fred, don't start laughing.”   “I don't know how long I can hold it in,” I replied. ” I want to laugh, too, but we can't, not yet anyway,”  Eurby said holding back a grin.

“Head ‘Em Up Move ‘Em Out”

After what seemed like an eternity, we all piled back in the Galaxy.  But the argument continued.  Steve told Gary that he owed him an apology!  Gary told Steve he did not!  Finally Gary asked Eurby, "Do I owe Steve an apology?” and Eurby’s reply was “Yes, you do.” and then he asked me and I said, “Yes you do.”

“The Red Sea Parts”

The apology that followed was from the heart. Gary said he was sorry, he would pay for damages, he said he was wrong, he said he was a bone head.  But Steve looked him straight in the eye and said, .”Not good enough.” So Gary apologized again and again.  Steve says, ”Not good enough.  By then Gary's face was turning red, and Steve was grinning at him.  Gary had enough.  He bolted from the car and walked away.   Steve fired up the Batmobile and took Eurby and I back to where he had found us.

“My Cup Runneth Over”

Eurby and I are standing on a side walk on W. Washington.  Steve is gone.  Gary is gone.

I look at Eurby, Eurby looks at me.   The laughter comes out like a volcano.  First we are standing and laughing.  Then we are bent over and laughing.  And, finally we are on our hands and knees laughing.  Every time we try to get to our feet we glance at each other start laughing even harder.  Eurby begs me to stop laughing.  I tell him, ”I am sorry, Eurby, can you forgive me?”  Back to the ground we go again.


The next time Gary and Steve saw each other, all was forgiven.  The next time Eurby and I saw each other we started laughing.

Moral To Story

If Your Fuse Is Too Short,  Keep It In Your Pocket.


As an editor, so to speak, of the website, I felt those that were mentioned in the story should have an opportunity to review and recollect the course of events as described by Fred. 

It is up to you, classmates, to decide who has the best memory.  So, here is the story from the point of view of the driver of the Batmobile – the Honorable Mayor, Steve Croyle:   

I do recall that we were driving through the streets of the city either throwing fireworks or, and I believe this is the case, were involved in a rolling "gunfight" with a car being driven by Royal Hardy. Someone threw a firecracker/cherry bomb at Royal’s car from the backseat and it bounced back inside my car and went off.  Everyone was able to cover their ears with the exception of yours truly who was driving at the time. 

I stopped the car, letting the smoke clear, when Royal's car came along side asked if we were alright.  When we said,  “yes”  Royal, and I think, Jerry Williams, decided to offer up the coup de gras and pitched a cherry bomb at us that landed between the fin and passenger compartment.  Obviously, the ear ringing intensified, the explosion created an indentation in my car suitable for a big bird to bathe in.  And, if my memory serves me correctly, I believe it was Fred A. Lawson that threw the explosive device that bounced back into my car! 

I don't recall any arguments. I do recall a lot of laughing.” 

Gary Junco had only a vague recollection of this incident, but he swears that if someone writes a story about putting a cherry bomb in the bathroom plumbing at the high school – he didn’t do it.